TORRANCE DAILY BREEZE: Senate rejects bill to ban plastic bags

May 31, 2013

The state Senate on Thursday rejected a bill that would have phased out the use of single-use plastic checkout bags in grocery, drug and convenience stores.

Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles, who authored the bill, said he will try again next year.

His SB 405 had support from business groups that want to eliminate a patchwork of policies across the state. More than 70 local governments already prohibit such bags, including Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica, Malibu and Long Beach. They’re also banned at checkout counters in unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County.

Some of Padilla’s fellow Democrats said the ban would cost hundreds of jobs in plastic bag manufacturing factories.

The bill fell three votes short of passage Thursday. It’s the fifth such bill to fail in the Senate.

Padilla argued that plastic bags take years to deteriorate and can endanger wildlife. State officials say only about 5 percent of plastic bags are recycled in California.

The advocacy group Environment California called the Senate’s move Thursday “a disappointment for all of Californians.”

“Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute the ocean for hundreds of years,” said Nathan Weaver, oceans advocate with the organization. “Banning plastic bags is one of the easiest steps California could take to protect our beaches, rivers, parks, and the Pacific Ocean.”

South Bay Sen. Ted Lieu voted in favor of the bag ban, while Sen. Rod Wright did not vote.